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Video Game Vintage Title Dishonored

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Dishonored is a 2012 stealth action adventure video game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. It was released worldwide in October 2012 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. Set in the fictional, plague-ridden industrial city of Dunwall, Dishonored follows Corvo Attano, the Empress's legendary bodyguard. He is framed for her murder and forced to become an assassin, seeking revenge on those who conspired against him. Corvo is aided in his quest by the Loyalists—a resistance group fighting to reclaim Dunwall, and the Outsider—a powerful being who imbues Corvo with magical abilities. Several noted actors including Susan Sarandon, Brad Dourif, Carrie Fisher, Michael Madsen, Lena Headey, and Chloë Grace Moretz provided voice work for the game.

The game is played from a first-person perspective and allows the player to undertake a series of assassination missions in a variety of ways with an emphasis on player choice. Missions can be completed through stealth, combat or a combination of both. Exploring each level opens new paths and alternatives for accomplishing mission goals, and it is possible to complete all missions, eliminating all of Corvo's targets, in a non-lethal manner. The story and missions are changed in response to the player's violent actions or lack thereof. Magical abilities and equipment are designed to be combined to create new and varied effects.

Dishonored received generally positive reviews, which focused on the missions' individual narratives and the freedom available in completing them. Criticism fell on the overarching narrative—which was considered predictable, and problems in controlling the player's character. Following its release, the game won several awards including the 2012 Spike Video Game award for Best Action-Adventure Game and the 2013 BAFTA award for Best Game, and was repeatedly recognized as the best action-adventure game of 2012 and one of that year's best games. Following its release, Dishonored was supplemented with additional content focusing on the assassin Daud and his quest for redemption.

Dishonored Plot

Dishonored takes place in the industrial city of Dunwall, where technology and otherworldly forces coexist. The city's design is modeled on London and Edinburgh between the late 1800s and the early 1900s. Dunwall is ruled by an oppressive regime that came to power following the assassination of the Empress and the kidnapping of her daughter. The city is a center for fishing and whaling; whale oil is a valuable resource which is needed to power the city. After the philosopher Esmond Roseburrow discovered that whale oil—known in the city as trans—can be used as a fuel, the government used it to develop powerful weaponry, which in turn bred government corruption. The city is stricken with a plague spread by rats and dogs which is killing the poor and isolating the rich. The infected, known as "weepers", cry blood and can become violent. The government uses the plague as an excuse to take or purge citizens as they wish. Order is maintained by the Tallboys, heavily armored officers on tall, mechanical legs, and districts are separated by barriers known as "Walls of Light", which are made of energy and disintegrate people who try to cross them. A covert group of activists, the Loyalists, plots to overthrow the government and install the Empress' daughter as the new Empress.

After returning from a foreign voyage to seek aid with the deadly plague ravaging the city, Corvo Attano travels to the tower of Dunwall and meets with the Empress. After delivering a message, they are attacked by teleporting assassins led by Daud; they magically restrain Corvo, kill the Empress and kidnap her daughter Emily. The Empress' Spymaster arrives and has Corvo imprisoned for her murder and Emily's abduction. Six months later, the Spymaster has seized control of Dunwall as Lord Regent. He tells Corvo that he masterminded the assassination and framed Corvo. The following day, Corvo is due to be executed. In his cell, a letter from Empire Loyalists is smuggled to Corvo and he is given the means to escape. After escaping, Samuel ferries Corvo to the Hound Pits pub to meet the Loyalists, led by Admiral Havelock.

While resting at the pub, Corvo is taken to a dream world where he meets the Outsider, who brands Corvo with his mark. Corvo is sent to eliminate the conspirators behind the Lord Regent's plot and the player is given the option to kill or otherwise neutralize Corvo's targets, the first of which is High Overseer Campbell. During the mission, Corvo meets Granny Rags and Slackjaw. Corvo removes the High Overseer and discovers Emily in a brothel called the Golden Cat under the care of twins Custis and Morgan Pendleton. Corvo rescues Emily and eliminates the brothers. After returning to the pub, Emily is taken into the care of Callista to prepare her for becoming Empress, while Corvo is sent to abduct the genius scientist Sokolov, who is responsible for the Lord Regent's powerful technologies. Sokolov is taken to the pub for interrogation, under which he divulges the identity of the Lord Regent's financier, Lady Boyle. Corvo infiltrates Boyle's masquerade ball, deduces which of the three sisters is the Lord Regent's mistress, and disposes of her.

After returning to the pub, Havelock confirms they have done enough damage to move on the Lord Regent. Corvo infiltrates the tower of Dunwall and removes the Lord Regent from power and, in the process, learns that the Lord Regent intentionally imported the plague to decimate the lower classes of society, though things quickly got out of hand. Corvo returns to the Hound Pits pub where the Loyalists celebrate their success. After sharing a drink, Corvo goes to his room and collapses. Upon waking he learns that his drink was poisoned by Samuel at the behest of Havelock and his Loyalist allies Treavor Pendleton and Teague Martin to prevent him interfering in their plan to install Emily as Empress and rule through her. Samuel remains loyal to Corvo and had given him a non-lethal dose of poison. Samuel sets Corvo adrift on the river and flees. When Corvo wakes, he is a prisoner of the assassin Daud and his men, who killed the Empress and intend to claim the bounty placed on Corvo's head by the now Lord Regent Havelock.

Corvo defeats Daud and his assassins before traveling through Daud's territory and into the sewers where he finds Granny Rags attempting to cook Slackjaw. Corvo can eliminate either Slackjaw or Granny Rags, who is revealed to be a witch called Vera Moray. Corvo returns to the pub to find it overrun with guards and that Havelock has killed many of the Loyalists. He discovers where Havelock has taken Emily, and can save Piero, Sokolov and Calista. Corvo signals to Samuel, who ferries him to the former Lord Regent's lighthouse. He infiltrates the lighthouse and either subdues Pendleton and Martin or finds that Havelock, to ensure the Loyalists' actions are never known, has already killed them. Once finished with Havelock, Corvo may or may not rescue Emily. Havelock's journal reveals that the Lord Regent suspects that Emily is Corvo's daughter; an idea supported by Emily's drawing of Corvo, labeled "Daddy".

The ending varies depending upon the level of chaos the player has caused throughout the game. If Corvo saves Emily, she ascends the throne as Empress with Corvo at her side. If a small amount of chaos has been caused, a golden age dawns and the plague is finally overcome. After many decades, Corvo dies of natural causes and Empress Emily Kaldwin I the Wise buries him beside Empress Jessamine. If much chaos is caused, the city remains in turmoil and is overrun with the plague. If Corvo does not save Emily, Dunwall crumbles and Corvo flees the city by ship.

Dishonored Gameplay

Dishonored is an action-adventure game played from a first-person perspective with an emphasis on stealth action and the use of gadgets and the environment to eliminate opposing forces. The game world is a series of self-contained, mission-focused areas designed for multiple avenues of exploration in terms of in-game movement and powers. Between missions, the player is taken to a central hub called the Hound Pits pub where the player-character Corvo can meet with his allies, receive mission briefings and alternate objectives, and convert recovered loot into new equipment and upgrades. In-game areas include loading docks, royal estates, poverty-stricken streets and a bathhouse. The player can save his or her progress anywhere and the game includes a checkpoint save system. Both saving methods are disabled during combat. The game has four difficulty levels which modify the effectiveness of health and mana potions, and enemies' awareness, damage delivered and responsiveness. In the easy setting, health regeneration is possible.

Dishonored features role-playing game elements such as the ability to upgrade powers and to make moral choices with focus on non-linear consequences. The game is designed to allow the player to complete it without killing any non-player characters (NPC), including boss characters and mission targets. An example of a non-lethal situation given by co-creative designer Harvey Smith involved the player completing a side mission for a character, which was rewarded with the kidnap and enslavement of the target character. Each mission contains multiple ways to explore and reach targets. Movement through and exploration of levels is designed to support the player-character's abilities, rather than specific paths that are aimed at a particular gameplay style, such as hacking or sneaking. Specific elements of missions, such as changes to the color of a target's clothing and mask in one mission are randomized, requiring the player to explore the game area to find the target each time the mission is played.

The player's actions are not judged to be good or evil, but instead are tracked by a "chaos" system that records the amounts of friendly fire, violence and deaths the player causes. This modifies the game world, affecting story decisions without punishing the player or forcing him or her to choose one style of play over another. For example, an NPC who disapproves of violence may refuse to support the player, and may even betray him or her. The game reacts to the chaos caused in scripted ways—such as changing dialogue, and dynamic ways—such as increasing the presence of rats and plagued citizens and adding new scenes. This can affect the active mission and future missions. The system also influences which of the game's two endings is reached, with variations based on which characters live or die. Using violence allows missions to be completed in less time than using a stealth approach, but violence consumes more in-game resources such as health and mana potions, which are required more often in direct combat.

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